Fort Bend ISD announced Tuesday that the remains of the 95 individuals discovered last year at an unmarked cemetery on school district property – who have become known as the “Sugar Land 95” – were reburied last week at the same site outside the new James Reese Career and Technical Center.
FBISD said its students will lead a public memorial in the spring of 2020, though a date has not be set. The remains are believed to be African-American men and boys leased to a local plantation to provide labor through the state-sanctioned convict leasing system following the abolition of slavery in 1865 that lasted until the early 1900s.
The reburial followed FBISD’s Nov. 17 ceremony meant to honor the unnamed individuals. A small group of community activists protested the ceremony, which was condemned by U.S. Rep. Al Green, who said the district should collaborate with Fort Bend County before reburying the remains.
FBISD said each gravesite and burial vessel was marked so that the individuals could be recognized by family, should descendants be identified in the future. FBISD said tooth and bone samples necessary for DNA testing have been extracted from the Sugar Land 95 and given to the University of Texas’ Archaeological Research Laboratory in Austin.